Love them or fear them, we parents need to keep an eye on them robots

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My six-year-old daughter will likely join the workforce in the next 15 years or so. Of course, it’s not a good thing to over-manage neither her life nor her career, but what’s a parent to do when we see recent headlines like these about robots?

Economist magazine: Will robots displace humans as motorised vehicles ousted horses?

BBC: Robots to affect up to 30% of UK jobs, says PwC.

 

Love them or fear them, robots are here to stay and their abilities are growing exponentially. We are already seeing early versions of self-driving cars, delivery drones on land and in the air, and, yes, robotic baby sitters.

The PwC report provided some details with these statistics.

– 30% of existing jobs in the UK were potentially at a high risk of automation, compared with 38% in the US, 35% in Germany and 21% in Japan.

– Jobs at high risk from automation:

Transportation and storage – 56%

Manufacturing – 46%

Wholesale and retail trade – 44%

Administrative and support services – 37%

Financial and insurance – 32%

Professional, scientific and technical – 26%

Construction – 24%

Arts and entertainment – 22%

Agriculture, forestry and fishing – 19%

Human health and social work – 17%

Education – 9%

Source: PwC

 

Both reports and articles stressed the importance of educating the workforce to ensure future workers can find jobs. But as a parent of a six-year-old, here are some simple actions that I’m doing, for and with my daughter in the coming years:

  1. Keep an eye on the latest developments. Wherever you source your news, spend at least a few hours a week looking through the science and technology section. If you have not been doing this, you will be very surprised what you come across!
  1. Attend STEAM events with your family. Family friendly STEAM fairs are now available in cities around the world with hundreds of thousands of attendees during these multi-day events. One of the biggest is the Maker Faire, but many schools run science fairs as well. Kids love the hands-on workshops. (In fact, we at 3D Roundhouse will have another booth at the Hong Kong Maker Faire this Saturday and Sunday April 8-9, 2017!)
  1. Take some STEAM workshops with your child. Whether it’s coding, robotics or 3D printing, there is no reason why parents can’t also learn along with their children. Over the past year, 3D Roundhouse has hosted dozens of workshops where parents and their children learn 3D modeling for 3D printing together. You can learn more about our workshops here.

Personally, I believe our children will find peaceful ways to coexist with robots. But as parents, we need to ensure our children can develop the wisdom to use this new technology in a proper and responsible way. The best way to do so is to understand what robots are and how they work. Working with your children to become more knowledgeable about the STEAM fields is a really great way to do so.

Can the Off switch be the best way to deal with rising technology?

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Over the holidays, I proposed this idea to a friend of mine who has a six year old daughter as I do, “If robots are going to take over our childrens’ jobs in the future, we should make sure our children maintain their sense of creativity to stay one step ahead. 3D printing is one great way to do that because anyone can express their creativity through the 3D models.” She replied, “When I hear you say that, my initial reaction is to turn all the machines off and revert to farming!”

Thinking Robot — Image by © Blutgruppe/Corbis

In a sense, she is correct. We’ve already seen the Open Letter on Artificial Intelligence published in early 2015 when Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk and many other leading thinkers in the tech field publicly voiced the opinion that AI could provide great benefits, but could also end the human race if used unwisely.

Fortunately, the letter resulted in the October 2016 funding and opening of the Centre for the Future of Intelligence (CFI) at Cambridge, where its researchers, including Hawking himself, will strive to this goal: “to work together to ensure that we humans make the best of the opportunities of artificial intelligence as it develops over coming decades.” Hopefully, they can set the guidelines that can help us avoid those worse case scenarios that they raised in the prior year.

Getting back to our six year old daughters, perhaps the best strategy is a little of each. Our children obviously need to get familiar with the STEAM subjects, because their livelihood could depend greatly on their grasp of these subjects. But there’s nothing wrong with just turning off the machines every once in a while to understand something as simple and important as how we get our nutrition. It’s a balance and that balancing act is one of the most important lessons we should give our children. I think even the researchers at the new CFI would totally agree.

How 3D Printing Teams Up with STEAM

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Hi Parents! Have you had a good time with your loved ones? I hope so. If not, it happens from time to time, please remember to criticize your child’s behavior and not him. It will make a huge difference on his self-esteem level when he will grow up.

Do you know the STEM acronym?

If not, here it is in full: Science Technology Engineering Mathematics. Many countries are aiming to increase these kinds of teaching to prepare students for the world we will live in very, very soon (actually, we are already one foot in it). Billions are poured in programs to make the future workforce more up to date in these fields.

I think it is a good thing. But, in my opinion, we need to add one more field to foster a better future: Art. It is not only my opinion. Many people and organizations around the world think that it is a key element to boost STEM through the roof. Many of them use the acronym STEAM instead of STEM.

What form of art and why?

Well, I think that any form of art could provide some positive benefit to STEM. Many great inventors and leaders in the past and even today were passionate with one or several forms of art. Music and painting, just to name a few, were crucial in the work and creative process of geniuses. Einstein and his violin is one of the most famous examples.

When leaders in technology and education work together

The famous Makerbot company, bought by another famous 3D printer manufacturer Stratasys (here is a really good and detailed article about this acquisition by a 3D printing world reference: Joris Peels), has set up an initiative in India to promote exactly what we are talking about: STEAM.

veltech-university

The General Manager for Makerbot Stratasys India, Mr Rajiv Bajaj, teamed up with Veltech University officials to deliver for free 3D printing three-day training sessions. Up to 800 middle and high-school teachers in India are attending these seminars over a period of four weeks (it started two weeks ago). They are learning how to integrate into their existing curriculum all the activities related to 3D printing, like design, creativity, critical thinking and problem solving. They will be taught how to use 3D modeling software and all the steps to do rapid prototyping, using a 3D printer with their students.

All these activities are STEAM related and focus towards one goal: preparing students to thrive in the jobs of tomorrow.

makerbot-and-veltech

So, while you will be focused around science, technology, engineering and mathematics, don’t forget to do many artistic activities with your children. It will be good for the mood, for the brain and will give them a competitive edge on the right track for a fulfilling life.

 

PARENTS, THE SCARY TRUTH ABOUT THE FUTURE EMPLOYABILITY OF YOUR CHILDREN

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Your child already has a professional problem

Your child already has a problem with his job. “What???” are you thinking, ”My child is still at school. How is it possible that he already has a problem with his job?” 

PROBLEM NUMBER 1:

Think about it. About 98% of CEOs and HR managers have already huge difficulties to find the employees they are craving for (and at all skill levels!). They find lots of applicants with technical proficiency but most of them lack the skills required for success in the labor market of the 21st century at all employment levels and in all sectors.

PROBLEM NUMBER 2:

Furthermore, a bigger problem is coming, something that will be a major earthquake in the years to come. According to studies in many countries, up to 65% of the jobs that will be available in less than 10 years have not been invented yet. It is a major problem for every country and everybody. From CEOs and HR managers to schools, students and parents. Can you imagine what the situation will be when your children will enter the work market? It will be even more than that.

from-that-one

PROBLEM NUMBER 3:

Schools are supposed to teach our children the skills they will need to have a great professional life and an enjoyable personal life, right? OK, but for several reasons it seems that they are already inefficient in preparing our kids for the current work market. So, what will they do if so many changes occur and up to 65% of the jobs are brand new with no up-to-date curriculum delivered with them?

PROBLEM NUMBER 4:

Many of you parents are already thinking that your children will endure a more difficult life than the one you have. You have numerous doubts about the future for your descendants. And kids can feel it! (Which is not a good thing…)

SO WHAT?

I am sure some of you have a lump in the throat while thinking about all these rocks on the road of your kids’ lives. Is there a solution to ease the future of our loved ones? What can we do as parents? Can we do something?

Greenfield Village Dearborn, Michigan

Greenfield Village
Dearborn, Michigan

I think so. Real Employability skills are one of the keys. I will tell you more next week. (Hint: perhaps a huge increase of STEAM in your child’s engine could help a lot?)

Enjoy your day and see you next week for the answer.